The Arizona Diamondbacks' magic number is seven.
That's seven more victories to avoid the 100-loss season that is predicted for most expansion clubs.They have long since abandoned any hope of finishing anywhere but last in the NL West, but the Diamondbacks - winners of six in a row and eight of 11 - suddenly are the National League's hottest team.
With left-hander Brian Anderson pitching a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Arizona extended the longest winning streak in its brief history by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 Thursday in Pittsburgh.
The Diamondbacks finished off a three-game sweep of one-run games, holding the slumping Pirates to one run in the final two games and four in the series.
Were the Diamondbacks that good? Or were the Pirates, losers of six in a row, that bad?
"He (Anderson) is throwing 85-86 (mph), he's throwing change-ups, and we get, what, three hits?" the Pirates' Kevin Young said. "This is the time of the year you have to suck it up and don't roll over. You find out how much character you've got."
The Diamondbacks (56-85) aren't playing for a pennant, but they could still finish with one of the best records by an expansion club.
They've already won more games than the Mets, Padres, Expos and Blue Jays did during their inaugural seasons, and they're two victories ahead of Colorado's pace during a 67-win season in 1993.
The Diamondbacks also have more victories than four established teams - including Florida, last year's World Series champions.
The obvious reason? Their much-improved pitching.
Omar Daal, who struck out 12 on Tuesday, has become one of the NL's most consistent left-handers. And Anderson (11-12), one of the league's best control pitchers, has won three in a row and is 10-6 since starting 1-6.
Anderson struck out four - the first time in six games the Pirates didn't strike out at least 10 times - but, as usual, he didn't walk any. He has fewer walks than homers allowed and has walked only seven since June 13.
The only run came on Matt Williams' two-out single in the third inning following walks to Tony Batista and Travis Lee.
BREWERS 7, ROCKIES 3: At Milwaukee, Brad Woodall homered and pitched six strong innings, and Dave Nilsson hit a pair of two-run homers for the Brewers.
Woodall (7-8), who got his first victory against Colorado after two losses, struck out seven and allowed three runs on nine hits.
Woodall's first career home run, a solo shot to right, put the Brewers up 3-2. After Mark Loretta walked, Nilsson, who tied it 2-2 with a homer in the fourth, followed with his second two-run shot of the game and his fifth in seven games.
John Thomson (8-10) gave up six hits and five runs in six innings.
Jeromy Burnitz hit a two-run homer, his 32nd, in the eighth, to make it 7-3.
INDIANS 2, TIGERS 1: Kenny Lofton decided to quit looking for something new. After all, the hits are falling and Cleveland has won four of five games.
Lofton's RBI double accounted for both Indians runs and Dwight Gooden won his fourth straight decision in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.
It was a nice bit of hitting. Even the losing pitcher said so.
After singles by Sandy Alomar and Enrique Wilson, Lofton hit an opposite-field double into the left-field corner that scored both runners.
It was an especially good bit of hitting because Justin Thompson is a quality left-handed pitcher.
Thompson (10-13), matching a career-high four-game losing streak, gave up two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
"I made a good pitch to Lofton," said Thompson, who has been supported with just 28 runs in his 13 losses. "He just seemed to stick the bat out. He didn't try to do anything special. That's what makes him such a good leadoff hitter."
Thompson pitched almost as well as the rejuvenated Gooden, but not quite.
Gooden (7-6) is 5-2 in nine road starts this season and 80-54 in his career. Against the Tigers, he went seven innings for the third time this year, giving up five hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
TWINS 5, DEVIL RAYS 4: Todd Walker doubled and scored on Terry Steinbach's single in the 12th inning.
A season-low crowd of 7,072 at the Metrodome saw the Twins rally twice late in the game. Minnesota made it 3-all with a run in the ninth, and Matt Lawton's two-out homer in the 10th tied it at 4.
Eddie Guardado (3-1) retired all seven batters he faced. Rick White (1-5) was the loser.
BLUE JAYS 4, RED SOX 3: Shannon Stewart drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th with his fourth hit of the game as Toronto won its seventh straight.
In the opener of the four-game series, the Blue Jays managed to overcome Pedro Martinez and moved within a half-game of overtaking Texas for second place in the AL wild-card race. With a sweep, the Blue Jays would move within five games of the Red Sox, the AL wild-card leader.
Martinez gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings, struck out 11 and walked three.
Robert Person (3-0) got out of a second-and-third jam in the 11th by striking out Darren Lewis and Chris Snopek.
Dario Veras (0-1) was the loser.